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What’s the difference between IPL and laser hair removal?

IPL – intense pulsed light – is a type of cosmetic energy-based tool used in clinics for a variety of purposes, however it is not a great hair removal tool. We only use laser hair removal techniques and technology at our Melbourne clinic, as IPL is not suitable for this purpose and may do more harm than good.

‘IPL’ and ‘laser’ are sometimes used (incorrectly) interchangeably. IPL is useful for many skin conditions, however hair removal is not a skin treatment exactly, but a very specific, targeted task. We need the laser beam to zero in on the hair follicle, not provide broad treatment to the skin, making laser hair removal a more specific action.

IPL is very broad-beamed, and for this reason is unsuitable for hair removal. The beam of an IPL machine is wide and diffused, while laser is a single band of light. This means you get a more targeted treatment from a laser, compared with the more broad light application of an IPL machine.

We use a collection of different lasers to deal with the various skin types that require laser hair removal in our Melbourne clinic. These lasers are very expensive compared with the cheaper IPL machines that other clinics may have as their only machine.

How do lasers work in laser hair removal?

Wavelengths of light are drawn to different colours, so when we direct the laser hair removal beam at a hair follicle, it finds the darker hair’s wavelength on the lighter skin. The laser beam travels down the active hair shaft, sending the heat energy into the surrounding skin cells, damaging them so they can no longer support hair growth.

IPL on the other hand is a beam of light sent through light filters to create a band. This is the difference between say a camping torch beam, which is like IPL, and a laser pointer that might be used in a presentation. The laser produces just one single type of wavelength, instead of many, like the band of wavelengths found in IPL machines.

This is the reason we have so many unique wavelength lasers, including hair removal lasers, at our Melbourne clinic – each skin condition and skin type requires a different wavelength for optimal results. For example, treating visible blood vessels requires a different wavelength to what we use to treat UV damage.

We don’t want the wavelengths to affect healthy skin, so we have to make sure the hair removal laser is fit for the job. An IPL machine can treat several skin conditions, but it may not treat them as well as a specific laser. Some clinics may try to save money by only buying an IPL machine, but hair removal, pigmentation and blood vessel conditions will not respond as well. This doesn’t mean it can’t be done – if you were stuck on a deserted island and wanted smooth legs, but you only had an IPL machine and technician, you could do it. But, why use the long, slow, risky way, when you can visit our Melbourne clinic and have the fastest, most effective laser hair removal?

We have the best laser hair removal machines in Melbourne.
Contact us for laser hair removal

2018-05-31T06:18:00+00:00

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